Lebanese Security Forces Fire Tear Gas as Thousands Protest in Beirut

Lebanese security forces fired tear gas and rubber bullets as thousands of people gathered near parliament in Beirut on August 8, to protest against the government and its response to Tuesday’s blast that devastated the city, according to reports.

Demonstrators chanted for the “fall of the regime,” accusing the government of being responsible for deaths caused by the explosion. Footage from the scene, showing large crowds, tear gas, and an injured protester, was captured by Human Rights Watch (HRW) researcher Aya Majzoub. The injured protester, Majzoub said, was struck in the head by a tear-gas canister fired by security forces.

Majzoub’s HRW colleague Richard Weir, who was also at the scene, said trash, debris, and other projectiles were hurled by protesters toward the security forces at the “periphery” of the protest.

At least 175 people were treated for injuries, including 63 who were taken to hospital, the Lebanese Red Cross reported.

Human Rights Watch has accused the government of inaction in the aftermath of the tragedy. Richard Weir, tweeted Friday: “I cannot stress how glaring the lack of government response and assistance is. It’s genuinely absurd. They aren’t even handing out water.”

The organization called on European Union Council President, Charles Michel, who was meeting Lebanese government leaders on Saturday, to push for an independent investigation into the incident. Amnesty International has also called for an independent probe into the blast. Credit: Aya Majzoub, HRW via Storyful